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CF police officer learns new skills, tactics in Germany as part of exchange program

CHIPPEWA FALLS — Chippewa Falls police Officer Joan Mattheisen has returned from a three-week stint in Germany, where she trained and learned from German officers, so she can bring those skills and knowledge back home.

Mattheisen, 27, learned about the police officer exchange program a year ago and was instantly interested. She nailed down plans to go over the winter, and she headed to northern Germany on May 3, where she stayed with the family of a police officer. Mattheisen is the first Wisconsin officer to head to Germany as part of the program.

“We’ve hosted German officers, but we’ve never sent anyone,” she explained.

When German officers visited the Chippewa Falls Police Department last year, the local officers got to show the visitors some new tools.

“We showed them the Tasers; they don’t have them in their department,” Mattheisen said.

Mattheisen was impressed with the training center in Germany, and she learned a lot about the different ways officers do their job.

“They have one department for the whole state,” she said. “It’s kind of like the Wisconsin State Patrol, for the whole state.”

Police have a different set of skills there, and it is visible in the way they respond to calls, she added. For instance, all officers there travel with a partner, which really isn’t common here.

“We talked different tactics, in response to calls,” Mattheisen said. “It’s really hard to get a gun over there. It’s not common, like it is, with the Second Amendment, in the United States. They also have more party drugs over there. It definitely solidified why we respond the way we do to cases.”

That led to a lot of informational exchange between the cultures, she said.

“It also was educating them on how policing works in the United States, getting to the reality of what it’s like here,” Mattheisen said.

One thing that intrigued the German officers was how the Chippewa Falls Police Department uses social media to interact with the public and how the agency participates in local programs like the annual basketball game playing the Special Olympics team, or hosting “cookies with cops.”

“They were interested in that, and definitely wanted to apply it,” she said.

Along with the skills Mattheisen learned, she got to meet the equivalent of the state’s governor and attorney general as well as making a stop to the U.S. consulate.

Chippewa Falls Lt. Brian Micolichek saw the positives when the German officers visited here, and he said it was a good career learning experience for Mattheisen.

“Anytime we can see how other agencies work around the nation, and in other countries, in doing their job, it can only help us do our job,” Micolichek said. “The connections, the networking she was able to do, will only help her down the road in being a more well-rounded officer. The amount of information you learn, the information exchange, is invaluable.”

Micolichek said Mattheisen has the right mindset to excel in a program like this one.

“It’s her willingness to do it. She’s a very outgoing person,” Micolichek said. “She has the right personality to meet strangers and feel comfortable.”

Mattheisen used her vacation time to go on the trip; there were no costs to the Chippewa Falls Police Department or taxpayers.

Mattheisen grew up in St. Cloud, Minn. She attended UW-Eau Claire, where she played soccer and earned a degree in criminal justice. She began working in law enforcement three years ago in the Chippewa County jail division and as an assistant Huber officer. She also worked part-time as a Lake Hallie patrol officer, before joining the Chippewa Falls force as a full-time officer last year.

Elk escapes from pen in Stanley park; officers trying to track it down

An elk has escaped from its pen in Chapman Park in Stanley, and officials are trying to track it down to capture it.

However, it appears it is already too late to bring it back to its herd in the confines of the park.

Stanley police Chief Lance Weiland said he received a call Wednesday morning alerting him that one of the elk was missing. The park has seven captive elk — one male and six females.

“One of the elk was pregnant last week and was having complications, so they were in there, tranquilizing her,” Weiland said.

During this period, it appears one of the other female elk somehow crawled under the fence. Elk tracks were located outside the fence.

“With the trauma going on in recent days, it may have spooked it,” Weiland said.

The elk was likely born there and isn’t used to being out of captivity, he said.

There have been a few sightings.

“The area they’ve described is within a mile on the west side of city limits,” he said.

There is a time crunch to get the animal apprehended, he said.

“I know we have a ticking clock,” Weiland said. “Unless they can get it into a confined place, their best bet is to tranquilize it.”

Captive elk herds are regulated by the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, not by the state Department of Natural Resources.

Leeann Duwe, DATCAP spokeswoman in the Division of Animal Health, said Chippewa County is considered to be a county impacted by chronic wasting disease, so under DATCAP policy, the elk would have to be back in the pen within 24 hours of its escape. Because that timeline has already passed, it will not be allowed back into the herd.

It will be up to area law enforcement to decide if the elk will be shot, she said.

“If they do decide to euthanize the animal, it will have to be tested for CWD,” Duwe said.

Chippewa County Sheriff Jim Kowalczyk said he had three officers helping to look for the animal Thursday.

“We had our drones up,” Kowalczyk said. “We thought we had it on our infrared, but it turned out to be a deer. It’s good practice for our guys. It’s a good exercise with our drones. If we can prevent someone from hitting it, it’s worth it. Hopefully, we’ll find it (today).”

Kowalczyk reminded the public this animal has always lived in captivity and it is unclear how it may react to seeing a person.

“Stay away from it and call us, and hopefully we’ll catch it,” Kowalczyk said.

Trump, often a critic of alliances, hails U.S. D-Day partners

COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, France (AP) — President Donald Trump, who has at times questioned the value of NATO and other institutions that emerged from World War II, paid tribute on the 75th anniversary of D-Day to the “cherished alliance” forged in battle by the U.S. and partner nations. To aging warriors gathered on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach, he said, “Our debt to you is everlasting.”

Under calm blue skies, Trump underscored the magnitude of the tumultuous June day in 1945:

“Those who fought here won a future for our nation. They won the survival of our civilization, and they showed us the way to love, cherish and defend our way of life for many centuries to come.”

The president stopped midspeech to gingerly embrace Russell Pickett, a 94-year-old Tennessee man who was wounded in the first wave that came ashore, telling him, “Private Pickett, you honor us all with your presence.”

Anniversary tributes aside, questions about Trump’s commitment to Western alliances have been a theme throughout his presidency and trailed him on his visit to Europe. During his stop in England earlier in the week, Queen Elizabeth used a dinner toast to emphasize the importance of international institutions created by Britain, the United States and other allies after World War II, a subtle rebuttal.

In Thursday’s ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery, many national leaders stressed the alliances that led to D-Day. Trump focused on the valor of the men who stormed the beaches, but he also sought to reassure allies who have been rattled by his “America first” mindset.

“To all of our friends and partners — our cherished alliance was forged in the heat of battle, tested in the trials of war and proven in the blessings of peace. Our bond is unbreakable,” the president declared.

He made a harsh detour into domestic politics in an interview with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham taped at the cemetery just before the ceremony. The president derided House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “Nervous Nancy” and a “disaster” and said special counsel Robert Mueller, himself a Vietnam War hero, had made “a fool out of himself” with his investigation of the president. Pelosi was among the U.S. lawmakers attending the D-Day observances.

In an interview on MSNBC, Pelosi declined to criticize Trump and said she hoped he would “convey a renewed spirit of collaboration” with allies.

In his speech, Trump praised allies for their contributions at Normandy, saying “the full violence of Nazi fury was no match for the full grandeur of British pride.” He also credited the Canadians and the French, along with “the fighting Poles, the tough Norwegians and the intrepid Aussies.”

Trump described some 130,000 service members who took part in the D-Day landing as the “citizens of free and independent nations, united by their duty to their compatriots and to millions yet unborn.”

The president paid particular attention to the few surviving veterans from that day who were likely to be attending their final remembrance of arguably the world’s most famous battle. He told their personal stories of heroism and described D-Day participants as “among the very greatest Americans who will ever live.”

What has been described as America’s “greatest generation” has been no less extraordinary in peace, Trump said, crediting them for building a “national culture that inspired the entire world.”

French President Emmanuel Macron, for his part, told American veterans that “France doesn’t forget” what they sacrificed for his country’s liberation from Germany’s Nazis.

After the program and a gun salute, Trump, Macron and their wives walked to an overlook above Omaha Beach, the scene of the bloodiest fighting. They stood silently as a bugler played taps. The couples surveyed a map of the invasion and watched as fighter jets and other aircraft, including some that streaked the sky with red, white and blue smoke, flew overhead. At the cemetery, Melania Trump placed a bouquet of white flowers at the base of a cross-shaped headstone.

Trump and Macron then traveled separately to Caen for a meeting and lunch before Trump returned to his golf club in Ireland.

Trump reflected on the commemoration as he sat with Macron, saying he was struck by the high death toll as the initial waves of troops came ashore.

“It’s a lot of courage, and a lot of heartbreak, but an incredible victory,” Trump said.

The cemetery contains grave markers for more than 9,300 American servicemen. Trump noted that each marker had been adopted by a French family and that people come from all over France to “look after our boys.”

“Today America embraces the French people and thanks you for honoring our beloved war dead,” he said.